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Ghazi Barotha fault caused blackout in country

The Feb. 24 countrywide power outage has been blamed on a fault at the Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project (GBHPP) and not at the Hubco (Hub Power Company plant).

Meanwhile, Wapda chairman is trying to sweep the fact under the carpet, a senior official of the Ministry of Water and Power told The News.When the whole country was in pitch dark, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) dumped the blame on the Hubco.

“After Hubco broke down, the system was first diverted to Tarbela and then to Mangla, but both of them tripped offline one after the other,” Wapda spokesman told media persons on February 24.

However, now it has been detected that it was not a fault at the HUBCO, rather the mishandling of engineers at Ghazi Barotha Hydropower has been detected as the prime reason for the countrywide blackout.

After the country plunged into darkness, the prime minister constituted a committee to probe into the incident. The committee was directed to present its enquiry report within seven days, the sources said.

According to the copy available with The New, the committee has submitted the report to the premier showing that the fault at Ghazi Barotha hydropower project triggered a cascading effect in the whole transmission network causing the countrywide blackout.

The report says shift engineers at Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project observed the severed jerks on the system followed by an abnormal sound from the penstock side and main generators of Unit, 1, 3, and 4.

The generating units were shifted to the isolation mode from routine power mode due to extremely low system and the shift engineers on duty shut down the units as a precautionary measure to avoid any probable damage due to extremely low storage ponds level; it was apprehended that due to aeration and air trap phenomenon, the tunnel could be damaged abruptly.

On account of action of the engineers, all the 500 and 220 KV transmission lines were found de-energized. The report says the abnormality occurred due to cascaded outages of various plants in the south of power network resulting in low frequency and unstable operation at Barotha power station.

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